Undergraduate Education

Students

One mark of distinction in undergraduate education at an institution is that the most talented students apply and enroll. Thanks to the hard work of Don Bishop, our Associate Vice President for Undergraduate Enrollment, and his staff, the Class of 2019 represents the most academically impressive, socioeconomically diverse, and globally representative class we have ever welcomed to campus.

"...the Class of 2019 represents the most academically impressive, socioeconomically diverse, and globally representative class we have ever welcomed to campus."

In terms of academic strength, the median incoming first year student ranks in the top one percent of the nation in either high school performance or test results, or both those measures. The academic profile of the enrolled class continues to rate among the top 10 to 15 in the nation for national research universities.

With more than 18,000 applicants, we enrolled a class of just more than 2,000 first year students, with a yield rate—that is, the percent of admits enrolled—of 56%, which places Notre Dame among the top 10 private national research universities for yield success. Such talented students have many other attractive alternatives, and it says much for our university when so many highly qualified students apply and choose to come to Notre Dame.

While credit certainly goes to our Admissions and Financial Aid Offices for enrolling such strong students, it goes above all to you, the faculty under whom these students come to study. Your scholarly work and your dedication to teaching attract these students more effectively than any marketing campaign. 

Undergraduate Intellectual Engagement 

"In 2014...nearly four in ten (undergraduates) were engaged (in research)..."

Ten years ago we spoke about increasing the intellectual engagement of our students, for we want our students to see themselves not simply as passive learners, taking in information from books and lectures, but also as inquirers, raising their own questions, conducting research and knowing the exhilaration of a discovery or hard-won insight. In 2014, the last year from which we have data, nearly four in ten were engaged in some research program.

Another measure of intellectual engagement is the increase each year in the number of Notre Dame students who are competing for highly selective academic fellowships, grants, and awards. We have talented students; your teaching inspires them intellectually; research and study abroad opportunities enable them to channel their interests and develop their skills; and the staff of CUSE—The Center for Undergraduate Scholarly Engagement—prepares them to submit applications. The result has been that last year a record 75 candidates competed for national fellowships, a record 16 students were selected as Fulbright Scholars, and Alex Coccia, a 2014 graduate, won a Rhodes Scholarship.

Student Life

At Notre Dame our educational goal is not simply to instill a range of skills needed in a particular discipline or career, but to help develop a person.  “Education,” said Blessed Basil Moreau, the founder of the Congregation of the Holy Cross, “is the art of bringing a young person to completeness.” We are convinced that a thriving residential life plays an irreplaceable role in this educational effort.

"...our educational goal is not simply to instill a range of skills needed in a particular discipline or career, but to help develop a person."

Two new residence halls are currently under construction to relieve overcrowding in our dorms. We are building the Duncan Student Center to provide a center for student activities and interaction, for those who are both on-campus and off-campus, for both undergraduate and graduate students. Erin Harding, our Vice President for Student Affairs, and her staff have devoted attention to the development of strong residence hall rectors and staff.

Erin Harding and Hugh Page, our Dean of First Year Studies, have collaborated to create a new Moreau First Year experience course, which will give our students a foundation to integrate intellectual, personal, and spiritual development. The Office of Campus Ministry has just completed a study that will enhance their ministry to our students, and the McDonald Center for Student Well-Being has just been established to enhance our support for the physical, spiritual, and emotional health of our students.

The Center for Social Concerns, the office of Campus Ministry, and many other offices provide opportunities for students to engage in service and reflect on that service. Whether serving in South Bend, repairing homes in Appalachia over break, or spending a summer teaching children in Uganda, these experiences transform the lives of our students and create life-long habits of generosity and attentiveness to the most needy and marginalized.